Perfect Roast Turkey: How Do You Do It?

holiday entertaining guide

turkeyJust as every family has a different way of celebrating Thanksgiving, so, too, does every family have a different way of roasting the turkey. And, some families don't even eat turkey at all! Here's how I plan to roast the perfect turkey tomorrow when I have my entire family over for the most delicious dinner of the year:


(The following process is a cobbling together of successful recipes I've collected and used over the years, as well as a few family secrets and traditions.)

1. My turkey is a free-range, hormone-free 12-pounder I ordered from a local farm. Last night I dry-brined it: After rinsing the turkey, I rubbed it all over with salt, put it in a large, plastic bag, and stored it on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.

2. On Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Cafe Kim will remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before cooking, put it in a roasting pan, and allow it to come to room temperature. (I'd do it myself, but I'm running a charity Turkey Trot with the rest of my family; Mr. Cafe Kim does not run, so he has turkey duty.)

3. When I return from running, I'll season the cavity and skin of the turkey with salt and pepper, and stuff the cavity with 1 chopped white onion, a couple ribs of chopped celery, 1 small cored and halved apple, and some sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme. I'll also rub some butter under the skin. I'll tie the legs together and place the turkey BREAST SIDE DOWN in a roasting pan with a rack. (My mother-in-law taught me this smart trick—this way all the juices run into the breast. Yum!).

4. I'll cover the turkey with foil and roast it for about 2.5 hours at 350. Then, I'll remove the foil, flip over the bird, raise the oven temp to 500, and roast it for another 30 minutes so the top browns, all the while basting it with melted butter so it doesn't dry out.

5. When the turkey temp reaches 165-170 degrees, we'll take it out, let it rest for a bit, and then EAT! For even more turkey tips, check out Momversation's Thanksgiving Without Worry: 15 Tips.

How big is your turkey and how are you roasting it? I especially want to hear from moms who are roasting big ones—20 pounds or more! And if you don't have turkey, tell us: What do eat for Thanksgiving dinner?


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